My friend actually just asked me about my trip: Here’s a copy and paste of the email I sent him:
I went in Dec so it was their summer.
Flew into Christchurch, stayed overnight then drove the next day to Franz Josef to do the Glacier hike. Its really rainy over on that side of the mountain, rains 2/3 days and there are stupid sand flies that bite like a bitch and it hurts and itches for WAY longer than mosquito bites. Hiked Franz Josef one day, and went to Fox Glacier another… then continued on south to Wanaka for a day… then to Te Anau for 2 days, stopping by Queenstown to get a burger at Fergberger (supposedly best burger ever, pretty good). From Te Anua we drove up to Milford Sound to do a tour of the sound, it was pretty good. Its hard to schedule with rain though. From there we went back up to spend a night at Mt Cook, which sucked and was rainy and could see anything… so left and went to Akaroa for a night before going back to Christchurch for the last night before flying out. Over all was 2 weeks.
Glacier hike: a must. Useful to book ahead, but makes it really hard to plan around weather. The first day we were there we were going to go, but they were sold out for that day and the next, which worked out cause the first day it poured ALL DAY, the second it rained all morning, and by the day I went it was totally sunny.
Wanaka: cute little town, not much to see, but it was just a good half way stopping point between Franz and Te Anau
Milford sound tour: pretty cool, worth seeing. Once again, the rain made it hard, we bought tickets for one day, drove up there ( a good 2 or 3 hrs from Te Anau I think) and it POURED the whole time, which was pretty awesome cause of all the waterfalls it made, but then could see squat in the sound, so changed the tickets to the next day. Theres no where to stay up there except this little place called Gunn something and some other more expensive hotel, but it was better than driving all the way back. Next day, weather was great, tour was fun, especially when you got out to the Tasmin Sea. Warning for cameras, you WILL get SOAKED, picture a buckets of water splashing over the boat over and over and over and over.
Mt cook, totally sucked for me.
Akaroa: cute little town, not much to see or do, but the drive there is pretty nice.
The east side of the island will be warm and sunny, the west side rains 2/3 days. You can go anywhere and there might not be much to see or do, but the drive is still really nice. You can drive for 5-6 hours a day and its not boring at all cause its all so beautiful. I LOVED it, you should totally go.
Oh check out Top Ten holiday park. Its a camp site with facilities (kitchen bathroom) that are pretty nice. If you bring a tent and stuff you can stay in those for like $15/night and just drive around and show up so you can keep your plans more flexible if you want to.
oh, I just found this oh my google docs:
1 Fly to Christchurch
2 In flight
3 Arrive Christchurch
5 Check out of CHC Drive to Franz Josef (4.5 hr)
6 Franz Josef
7 Franz Josef
8 Leave Franz – stop by Drive to Wananka (3 hr)
9 Lake Matheson Wanaka
11 Leave Wanaka Drive to Te Anau (3 hr)
12 Te Anau
13 Te Anau
14 Leave Te Anau Drive to Mt Cook (5 hr)
15 Leave Mt Cook Drive to Akaroa (3 hr)
16 Return to Christchurch (1 hr)